Friday, December 23, 2022

the frozen south

I thought, this time I am going to be completely prepared in advance. By Wednesday afternoon everything was pruned and covered. I was especially happy with how I had covered the enormous ponytail palm. It was only a year's growth like last winter but I have everlasting hope that this year I will save the foliage. It's planted on the south side of a concrete wall about 4' high and I always anchor the tarp along the top of the wall and down from there and then all around the bottom thinking the concrete will exude any residual heat from the day. About 5 PM Thursday I called Robin, who is house/cat sitting for my sister while she's gone, to look out the window and see if the ponytail was still covered as this front is blowing in with high winds. Yes, she says, oh wait, it's sliding off now. Well fuck. Grabbed my coat and my ropes and headed over to recover the ponytail. Robin came out to help and now that baby is covered and cinched up like a whore in a corset. But goddamn that wind was cold.

So, yeah, this arctic front, mumble mumble fucking people and global warming, is a bitch. We do not ordinarily have winters that get this cold and yet this is the third one in a row. Hey! You people up there in the frozen north, close the fucking door!

My desk with the vase of cuttings to root, my sister's gardenia bonsai, and the three yellow angel trumpet branches that had the most buds on them, maybe one or two will still open (wishful thinking there).

It dropped down to 16˚ but not until early this morning. The wind is still blowing with gusts up to 25 mph. Cat was convinced she wanted to go outside but has finally stopped bugging me. There's a 12” icicle hanging from the edge of the birdbath which is frozen solid, the turtle pond is only partially covered with ice so the birds still have access to water and I imagine Big Mama is hunkered down by the pump motor which creates some heat, and the bird feeder is almost empty so I'm going to have to brave the outdoors in a little while.

We were fairly busy at SHARE Thursday and the temp was climbing to 60˚. When it was time to leave at 1 PM and I drove around back to get the cardboard from the day to take it to the recycling center which I do every Thursday, the wind had shifted and there was a slight chill in it. I planned to go to the library on my way home but wasn't quite finished with my current book, had about 20 more pages, so I had taken it in with me and in between having to refill baskets I managed to finish so now I'm set with two books.

I took pictures of some of the personal hygiene items that were donated last week. These two pictures comprise only about half of what was donated. There was a smaller full box next to these and also doesn't count the amount that has already been brought in and organized in boxes in the back room.

I moved the bird feeder back under the hood hanging from the wire strung between trees. I watched a squirrel in this tree or that tree or the shepherd's crook or the edge of the roof or on the elephant plant stand trying to figure out how to get to the bird feeder. Eventually it or another started walking the wire. I chased it off. Several times. They are little pigs and spill more of the sunflower seeds on the ground than they eat. I have a tiny forest of sunflower sprouts under the shepherd's crook. Or did. I imagine they're frozen like everything else outside now. I finally took pity on her and put out a dish of pecans and one of cracked corn at the bottom of the tallow tree she was sitting in last. You might ask where the pecans came from since I've been moaning that I haven't gotten a single one from my trees for three years now. Someone donated a 2 year old sealed bag of pecan halves to SHARE but we can't give out food that is beyond its sell or use by date so I brought them home and threw them in the freezer thinking I would test one and see if it was edible and then forgot about them until today.

Oh, I see a squirrel in the tallow eating a pecan so I guess she found them.

If it wasn't so damn cold it would be a gorgeous day outside.

I've got dinner thawing out, stuffed cabbage casserole left over from a previous day's cooking so I think I'm going to spend the rest of the day on the couch with a book, Minnie on one side, Cat on the other, until it's time to heat it up.



  1. Well, this isn't really so unusual. One of my favorites was the 1983 freeze that broke all the pipes in my apartment building at Kirby and Westheimer, and flooded the courtyard around the swimming pool. I did the only reasonable thing and took a break from toting water from the pool to flush the toilet -- I went ice skating around the pool. There was a good one in 1989, too, and a 1977 ice storm that was one for the books. I recently heard some old guys talking about the time Trinity Bay froze solid, and you could walk across parts of it.

    But be of good cheer. By the middle of next week, we'll be living la dolce vita again, with temps in the 60s. Right now, I'm staying inside and making soup,while the squirrels nosh on the shelled sunflower seeds and shelled peanuts I put out for them. It's Christmas, after all!

    1. Yes, we've had frigid winters before, 3 in 12 years by your reckoning, but not consecutive! I had to laugh looking at the forecast of lows for the next six days...19, 22, 27, 32, 43, 61!

  2. We're as prepared as we're going to be. As usual, our weather comes the day after yours. It's supposed to be 18 tomorrow morning. Oh, what a lot of brown mush this yard is going to have in it! I'm hoping your ponytail palm makes it. I love those things.

  3. It's hard to imagine what that Arctic Blast must have felt like there and the damage it is doing. I know things are going to warm up soon, but while you're still in it I hope that you and all the plants and kitty cats stay warm and cozy. Take care, stay safe and well.

  4. My Christmas cactus has never bloomed so heartily. She lives in the kitchen window above the sink where the best light comes in. Everything on the patio froze to death but it won't be the first time. Almost everything returns from the roots up come spring, so I'm not mourning. I covered the giant aloe and her babies but refused to uncover for a look-see. All is well that can be well is how I look at it.

    I filled five hot water bottles last night. One was for Minutes, the cat. Such remarkable weather, yes? Stay warm. Be well.

  5. Once upon a time I made fun of y'all, pissin' and moanin' about the cold as I tromped through boot deep snow taking incredible pictures. No more. I've turned a new leaf, and really despise those, not who started global warming, but the fat cats who perpetuate it.

  6. Oh, Amen to this!!!! All for the sake of the all-mighty dollar! Crooks!

  7. A major storm has descended on us too and thwarted our travel plans. At least we are warm and snug at home, unlike all the poor souls stranded in airports, sometimes for days on end. It's just as well we're home anyway - I have the worst cold I have had in years. Merry Christmas.

  8. I am hosting the celebrations so I don't have to go out, thank goodness. Yesterday's high was -1F! Today it will get to a balmy 11F so we are going in the right direction temp-wise. I am glad the snow stopped yesterday so everyone can get here safely.
    Hope your plants survive and you get the warm temps you need down there.

  9. It's 18 degrees here at 11:22, but I don't have anywhere to be until 4:00 & it should be 29 by then. Practically a heat wave! We do have some wind though. I think I'll wear my Santa hat to dinner :)

  10. I'm glad you're coping with the cold and were able to do a last-minute save on the ponytail palm! Merry Christmas, Ellen!


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